Final Fantasy XII Articles RSS Feed | Final Fantasy XII RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Has Final Fantasy XII Aged Like Milk or a Fine Wine? Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:00:02 -0400 daisy_blonde

Let me take you back to March 2006. The PlayStation 2 is in its twilight years, and soon to be replaced in Japan by the PlayStation 3. Because Final Fantasy XII released relatively late in the PS2 lifecycle, it was largely overlooked – especially in Europe and America, where the game came out just a month before the PS3 was released.

Although generally well-received and garnering a perfect score from Japanese magazine Famitsu, many fans criticized the game online. The critics picked flaws such as the slow start to the story, the vast array of characters and places to remember, and the new battle system -- which was a move away from the turn-based mechanics of its predecessors.

The recent release is a bit more than just a lick of HD paint, as it includes the previously Japan-only International Zodiac Job System (hence the title of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age). This addition aside, it's pretty much the same as the original game, which is now 11 years old. Unlike linear RPGs, this installment brought open, sprawling worlds and lots of freedom, which are a dime a dozen nowadays with the likes of Skyrim and The Witcher 3.

Being the pioneer, does that mean that Final Fantasy XII has aged compared to its modern day counterparts?

We pick apart the various aspects of the game to find out.

Battle and Job System 

In a marked departure from previous entries in the franchise, there are no random encounters in Final Fantasy XII. This makes the battle system similar to other Square Enix games, such as Kingdom HeartsThe system was certainly the template for future entries in the franchise – I’m sure the Final Fantasy XV developers took notes. You can see your enemies, and if you're not strong enough to fight, you can also avoid them. 

Another innovation was the Gambit system. By using a series of menu commands, you can concentrate on fighting enemies without worrying about your other party members getting in the way. For example, you can set your allies to concentrate on the enemy attacking the party leader, or you can ask a party member to heal you if you are under 40% of your total HP.

As explained in the PlayStation official TZA promotion video, the Gambit system is actually based on the enemy AI in earlier Final Fantasy games, meaning that this is also a link to past themes (as with chocobos, a character called Cid, and certain enemies appearing in each title).

The Gambit system makes combat fresh and has certainly helped the game to age well in comparison to the earlier additions in the franchise, such as Final Fantasy VII’s turn based battle system. Like Final Fantasy X, you also have the option to switch out characters in your party, which allows you to level up more characters in a single battle.

In addition, Final Fantasy XII has admirably matured in linking the combat to the story. Early on, you get to control Vaan, a street urchin who is excellent at stealing. You will control him for most of the game. Utilizing his skill is important in progressing your characters as you won’t get much Gil from just defeating monsters. We may be used to the combat and the story being inextricably linked because of games like Bioshock, but 10 years ago, the practice was less common. 

The PS4 remaster includes a refinement to the International Zodiac Job System. Your characters can gain specialized skills for individual classes through licence boards. Unlike the original International Zodiac Job System, which only let you choose one class per character, the new Zodiac Job System lets you have two classes assigned to each party member. For example, you can have a White Mage healer who can also deal damage with their bow and arrows as an Archer. This system can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re used to the more pedestrian turn-based JRPGs, but this level of customization certainly marks this Final Fantasy installment as one of the most timeless, tactical and varied. Indeed, this game is a good stepping stone for the level of strategy and planning you need if you’re yet to check out the Final Fantasy Tactics spin-off series.


Like most Final Fantasy games, the story can be difficult to follow -- especially in the first few hours, when you switch from one set of characters to another. In Final Fantasy XII, the small kingdom of Dalmasca is a neutral party in a war between the Archadian and Rozarrian empires. Tumultuous events at the start of the game -- which in some ways are pretty similar to Final Fantasy XV’s Kingsglaive movie -- leads to Dalmasca's occupation and rule by the Archadian empire.

The story has been favorably compared to Star Wars with a captured princess, a sky pirate, and an evil Empire to defeat – which almost seems a blueprint for the Niflheim Empire in Final Fantasy XV. The story is refreshing, and sets itself apart from the franchise by remaining grounded in the war between two empires. It doesn’t suddenly have conventional memory loss for plot reasons and monsters landing from the moon at the eleventh hour (I’m looking at you, Final Fantasy VIII!). Although my opinion may anger some JRPG fans who adore fantastical stories, I appreciate this entry’s simplistic nature.


There’s something more grown up about these characters compared to the Dawson’s Creek -esque teen drama in Final Fantasy VIIIor Final Fantasy IX’s protagonist Zidane, who inexplicably has a tail.

Vaan is much like the player. He is an observer who is somewhat detached from the main plot. This fits well in the story, as it is very unlikely that one street thief would be able to influence a huge war between two empires. Balthier is essentially Final Fantasy XII’s Han Solo. Although we see most of the story through Vaan's perspective, Balthier often amusingly refers to himself as "the leading man."

Ashe is a very strong female character, and potentially could have been the template for Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII. Like Noctis in Final Fantasy XV, she needs to avenge her besieged kingdom and reclaim her throne.

What I liked most about the characters in Final Fantasy XII was the excellent voice acting. Personally, I found the voice acting in Final Fantasy X a bit jarring and melodramatic at times. Arguably, this is understandable as this was the first fully voice acted entry in the series.

Since then, Square Enix seems to have learned from their mistakes. As a result, the voice over in this installment is subtle yet powerful. The PS4 Zodiac Age remaster now lets you switch to the Japanese voice actors, although the English voice actors still portray the characters well. The more realistic characters is another reason why this game has aged well, and has arguably been copied by other games (such as the great voice work in Life is Strange) and even other entries in the franchise.


This is the first Final Fantasy that didn't prominently feature composer Nobuo Uematsu. After his departure from Square Enix in 2004, his sole contribution was the ending song, Kiss Me Goodbye. Instead, most of the score was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto, who is best known for his work on the music in Final Fantasy Tactics.

Some fans have criticized the music in this game, saying that it is one of the weaker in the franchise. FFXII still has great pieces, such as the excellent Little Thief and the more laid back feel of the Chocobo theme, Chocobo FFXII Arrange Ver. 1. Since Square Enix improved the sound quality, FFXII has a more HD audio experience.

On reflection, I would say that this is the only part of the game that hasn’t aged well. Generally, most big budget games use orchestras for the entire soundtrack.


A decade ago, Final Fantasy XII represented a leap that some fans were not prepared for. Being ahead of its time has helped this game to age like a fine wine, and has perhaps led other games to imitate it poorly.

The brave decision to ground the story as a war between two empires may lead some to question where the "fantasy" is – but what piece of fantasy literature or other media can you name that doesn't have some sort of "normal" conflict?

Gone too are the lost in translation text errors of Final Fantasy VII, and the amateur dramatic voice acting of Final Fantasy X. Here, you have great voice actors such as Kari Wahlgren (who plays Ashe, and most recently Graham’s potential partner in the Sierra King’s Quest reboot) coupled with good localized text that makes perfect sense. Both are essential if you want to understand the intricacies of the story.

The sheer scale of customization and tactical nature of battles is a refreshing change from the "just spam X" controls of other entries in the series, and the mindless nature of shooters such as Call of Duty.

In short, if you didn’t have the chance to pick it up on PS2 back in the day because you were more interested in upgrading to PS3, pick this game up. Its depth, score and amazing HD cutscenes may surprise you.


Do you agree with our assessment of Final Fantasy XII? Do you think this game has aged well? Let us know in the comments below!

If you want to know more about The Zodiac Age, check out these other fine GameSkinny articles:

FFXII: The Zodiac Age Guide - How to Get the Zodiac Spear Fri, 14 Jul 2017 19:13:00 -0400 Ashley Shankle

The method of getting the Zodiac Spear in the original Final Fantasy 12 was, without a doubt, one the most counter-intuitive methods of getting an endgame weapon ever in a game. How did Square expect players not to open every chest they came across?

Getting the Zodiac Spear in Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age isn't necessarily easier than the original game, but it doesn't require you avoid certain chests to get it. Instead, there are two different methods to get the weapon in this version, and we'll go over both here.

Both methods of getting the spear are fairly time-consuming and are not available until near the end of the game. The first requires that you take a side quest to task after the events in Draklor Laboratory. The second requires that you not only take on and complete a couple of hunts, but the you have 10 Espers at your disposal.

Before we go forward, it's worth noting that the Zodiac Spear is no longer the strongest weapon in the game. It grants 141 attack and a 20% chance to disable foes, but Uhlan's other high-tier class-specific weapon (Vrsabha) has 108 attack and a 50% chance to disable foes. That's not shabby, either.

Two weapons totally trump the Zodiac Spear.

One, the Trango Tower sword, boasts 153 attack, is invisible, and is incredibly rare. The Seitengrat, another invisible weapon, blows them both out of the water with 224 attack and a whopping 75 evasion. It's basically broken, but if you're interested in getting it, check out my guide on how to get a Seitengrat.

First, let's go into the most obvious one:

1. The Hunt Club at Phon Coast

Once you deal with Draklor Laboratory you can head back to the Phon Coast and start a new sidequest chain, the Hunt Club.

Four Bangaas at the Phon Coast will allow you to join their Hunt Club and hunt down rare game for trophies, which are counted toward a special list of buyable items that you must buy using Gil. There are 30 total trophy rare games for you to hunt down to get the Zodiac Spear, each with their own requirements and ideal level ranges.

Making the Zodiac Spear available this way requires you to give each of the 3 brothers 10 trophies each, and once done, you must spend 999,999 Gil to buy it (and the Zodiac Escutcheon) up.

If you don't want to distribute the trophies 10-10-10, you can alternatively ensure that Atak gets at least 16 trophies and distribute the others to your own needs. In doing this, you will be given a Zodiac Spear once you've completed all 30 hunts

I've worked up a guide on the Phon Coast Hunt Club sidequest and trophy rare game. Should you be interested, the guide lists out the locations and level ranges of all the trophy rare game as well as the trophy and Gil cost of all the items available via the club. You may find you'd rather grab another item and just get the Zodiac Spear using the other method.

2. A Chest in Henne Mines -- Special Charter Shaft

This is one method I haven't gotten to try myself in TZA, but I know it works.

There is a secret area in the Henne Mines that you can open up at endgame, but it requires a great deal of work. It's worth the effort if you want a Zodiac Spear and you don't want to have to distribute Hunt Club trophies in the manner listed above, or you simply want two of them.

The Special Charter Shaft of the Henne mines will not open until you complete the following tasks:

  • Complete the Mindflayer hunt
  • Collected 10 total Espers
  • Speak to the Garif Geomancer in Jahara

Once you've completed all these steps the Geomancer will send someone to open the gate in the Ore Separation section of Henne Mines and you can proceed.

Phase 2 entrance location.

Deep inside the Henne Mines is not a friendly place, but push forward deep inside to the Special Charter Shaft and you do have a chance to get the Zodiac Spear -- a 1% chance, anyway.

The red dot indicates the chest's location.

The Zodiac Spear's chest only has a 1% chance to spawn, but nothing else will ever be inside it. You can simply run in and out of the door to the north (at 2x or 4x speed of course) until you eventually get lucky enough for the chest to spawn.

If this helped you out, feel free to check out my other Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age guides.

FFXII: The Zodiac Age Hunt Club and Trophy Rare Game Guide Fri, 14 Jul 2017 19:12:54 -0400 Ashley Shankle

The Phon Coast Hunt Club is one side quest in Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age you may very well completely overlook, but its rewards are worth the effort if you decide to take the time to hunt down the many rare game found sprawled across Ivalice.

Many of the items you can get from the Phon Coast Hunt Club are in fact second copies of other incredibly rare items such as Thief's Buffs, Genji Gloves, Masamune, Tula, and the Zodiac Spear. This sounds amazing, but there's a catch: You can't get everything.

So let's talk about how to get this Hunt Club unlocked, details on the rare game you must hunt down, and the potential rewards you can get from the Bangaa brothers.

Opening up the Phon Coast Hunt Club

This part is easy.

Once you finish the events at Draklor Laboratory, make your way back to the Phone Coast and look for a small house with four Bangaas outside. It's approximately across from the area's main vendor.

Talking to the head Bangaa and responding positively will get the ball rolling. He will ask you to hunt down the Thalassinon in the nearby Vaadu Strand, which you should be able to do with ease. Simply head to the Vaadu Strand, head up the cliff to the far side of the map, and look down to see the hulking tortoise below.

After you defeat the Thalassinon you head back to the Bangaa and really get this side quest started.

How the Phon Hunt Club works

I'd like to say this is the tricky part, but it really isn't.

Once you return after defeating the Thalassinon and returning with its trophy, you are officially part of the Hunt Club and are expected to bring trophies back for the brothers Atak, Blok, and Stok. This is where the real hunt begins.

There are 80 total rare game you can hunt down in FF12:TZA, but only 30 of them grant trophies to grant the brothers. These are called trophy rare games. None of the 30 will spawn until you initiate the quest and, as you'd expect, they are geared toward high-mid to late-game parties.

If you do not want to deal with the level 60+ rare trophy games popping up in certain areas, you may not want to initiate this quest until you are ready. Disma, in particular, is a real beast.

You will receive a trophy once you defeat the applicable rare game. Trophies can be given to one of the three brothers to go toward armor, weapons, and accessories depending on how many you've given to each. The items can be bought for Gil, often for very high prices.

Talk to the Shifty-eyed Man to the right of the brothers, after which he will become "Outfitters" to sell Hunt goods.

Hunt Club rewards

Here are the rewards you can get from the Hunt Club, what they do, and how many trophies/Gil they cost.

Do note that none of these items are unique to this sidequest. Every single item here can be procured by other means, including the Zodiac Spear.

Item Trophies Gil cost
Thief's Cuffs
(Accessories 8)
Enables the theft of superior and rare items.
Atak: 0
Blok: 0
Stok: 1
Golden Amulet
(Accessories 6)
Doubles license points earned.
Atak: 0
Blok: 0
Stok: 15
Platinum Armor
(Heavy Armor 8)
49 DEF +7 ATK
Atak: 0
Blok: 1
Stok: 0
(Katanas 3)
+71 ATK +35 Evade
Atak: 1
Blok: 0
Stok: 0
Ruby Ring
(Accessories 15)
Equip: Reflect
Atak: 0
Blok: 0
Stok: 5
Minerva Bustier
(Light Armor 10)
+50 DEF +610 HP
Atak: 0
Blok: 5
Stok: 0
Turtleshell Choker
(Accessories 7)
Allows casting to use Gil instead of MP.
+5 MAG Power +5 SPD
Atak: 5
Blok: 5
Stok: 12
Holy Lance
(Spears 5)
+91 ATK +8 Evade
Atak: 5
Blok: 0
Stok: 0
(Katanas 4)
+96 ATK +29 Evade
Atak: 10
Blok: 0
Stok: 0
Black Mask
(Mystic Armor 10)
Absorb: Dark
+53 MAG Resist +81 MP +8 MAG Power
Atak: 5
Blok: 15
Stok: 5
Opal Ring
(Accessories 20)
Magicks will not bounce off targets with Reflect.
+5 MAG Power +2 Evade
Atak: 0
Blok: 0
Stok: 10
(Heavy Armor 11)
+64 ATK +1 MAG Resist +9 STR +6 SPD
Atak: 5
Blok: 10
Stok: 5
White Mask
(Mystic Armor 11)
Absorb: Light
+56 MAG Resist +81 MP +8 MAG Power
Atak: 0
Blok: 10
Stok: 0
(Swords 8)
+95 ATK +5 Evade
Atak: 15
Blok: 0
Stok: 0
Cat-ear Hood
(Accessories 16)
Obtained LP becomes Gil.
+3 SPD
Atak: 0
Blok: 0
Stok: 20
Bubble Belt
(Accessories 17)
Equip: Bubble
Atak: 0
Blok: 0
Stok: 25
(Ninja Swords 1)
10% chance to Disable.
+94 ATK +18 Evade
Atak: 20
Blok: 0
Stok: 0
Aegis Shield
(Shields 6)
+13 Evade +50 MAG Evade
Atak: 0
Blok: 15
Stok: 0
Indigo Pendant
(Accessories 19)
Improves chance to strike with Magicks.
+7 SPD
Atak: 1
Blok: 1
Stok: 25
Artemis Bow
(Bows 7)
+94 ATK

Artemis Arrows
Earth element
+5 ATK
Atak: 12
Blok: 5
Stok: 5
Eight-fluted Pole
(Poles 6)
+91 ATK +30 Evade
Atak: 10
Blok: 5
Stok: 0
Ultima Blade
(Greatswords 3)
+109 ATK +20 Evade
Atak: 25
Blok: 0
Stok: 0
(Crossbows 4)
+91 ATK +5 Evade

Grand Bolts
+4 ATK
Atak: 25
Blok: 1
Stok: 1
Dueling Mask
(Light Armor 13)
+55 MAG Evade +800 HP +2 STR
Atak: 0
Blok: 20
Stok: 0
Grand Helm
(Heavy Armor 12)
+50 MAG Resist +12 STR +10 VIT
Atak: 0
Blok: 25
Stok: 0
Lordly Robes
(Mystic Armor 13)
+61 DEF +100 MP +5 STR +15 MAG Power
Atak: 1
Blok: 25
Stok: 1
Grand Armor
(Heavy Armor 12)
+67 DEF +12 STR
Atak: 0
Blok: 30
Stok: 0
(Accessories 21)
Reverses effects of restorative items such as potions.
Atak: 0
Blok: 0
Stok: 30
Genji Gloves
(Genji Armor)
Improves chance of scoring multiple hits.
+3 MAG Power
Atak: 5
Blok: 5
Stok: 15
+111 ATK +33 Evade
Atak: 30
Blok: 0
Stok: 0
Zodiac Spear
20% chance to disable.
+141 ATK +8 Evade

Zodiac Escutcheon
Immune: Lightning
+75 Evade +45 MAG Evade
Atak: 10
Blok: 10
Stok: 10


There's another way to approach giving them trophies

If will receive special rewards if you give the brothers certain amounts of trophies, and the total amount you give each one will affect the rewards. So rushing 10-10-10 for the Zodiac Spear and Escutcheon isn't necessarily the right way to go about it.

  • If you give Atak 15 or less you will get a Staff of the Magi
    • If you give Atak 16 or more you will get a Zodiac Spear
  • If you give Blok 15 or less you will get an Ensanguined Shield
    • If you give Blok 16 or more you will get a Zodiac Excutcheon
  • If you give Stok 15 or less you will get a Sage's Ring
    • If you give Stok 16 or more you will get a Ribbon

Trophy rare game locations

As mentioned above, these rare games will only spawn once you initiate the Hunt Club sidequest. Don't worry that you've killed them before starting it because you definitely have not.

Something worth noting about these enemies is that they will not spawn again once they are defeated. This sounds reasonable, but a fair number of them have rare items you probably want to get your hands on.

If you steal from one and find that you want to get another of received item, you can go back a couple screens and come back to (hopefully) steal from it again. Though you may have to go through the effort to get it to spawn again.

Name & Approx. LVL Spawn Location & Condition
Approx. level: 49
Ridorana Cataract
Echoes from Time's Garden
30% chance to spawn.
Approx. level: 42
Zertinan Caverns
The Undershore
Get a kill chain on 12 Mellicants in the area.
Approx. level: 29
Paramina Rift
Karydine Glacier
Defeat all enemies in the area.
Approx. level: 38
Sochen Cave Palace
Mirror of the Soul
Go through the Pilgrim's Door. (See below table for route to open and enter)
Approx. level: 48
Nabreus Deadlands
The Slumbermead
40% chance to spawn at the southeast of the area.
Approx. level: 42
Cerobi Steppe
Feddik River
40% chance to spawn.
Approx. level: 62
Pharos - Second Ascent
Station of Ascension
40% chance to spawn.
Biding Mantis
Approx. level: 47
Golmore Jungle
The Needlebrake
Will appear when/if the in-game clock is between 30 and 59 minutes.
Approx. level: 42
Cerobi Steppe
40% chance to spawn.
Bull Chocobo
Approx. level: 47
Ogir-Yensa Sandsea
South Tank Approach
40% chance to spawn.
Crystal Knight
Approx. level: 61
Great Crystal
Loop from Way Stone XX to the Sagittarius switch and then return to Way Stone XX, going clockwise.
Approx. level: 50
Mosphoran Highwaste
Skyreach Ridge
40% chance to spawn.
Approx. level: 60
Lhusu Mines
Site 5, Site 6 South
5% chance to replace a Dark Lord.
Approx. level: 46
The Feywood
Walk of Dancing Shadow
May replace a Mirrorknight.
Approx. level: 46
Garamsythe Waterway
No. 10 Channel
Found at the most southwest area of the map. Wait after arriving.
Approx. level: 38
Tchita Uplands
Uazcuff Hills
Chance to replace a Coeurl.
Approx. level: 43
Barheim Passage
East-West Bypass, The Zeviah Span
May be present on entry, but the chance of it spawning rises the longer you are in the area.
Kaiser Wolf
Approx. level: 41
Dalmasca Westersand
Corridor of Sand
Kill the Lindbur Wolf in the Westersand's Shimmering Horizons, then go to the Corridor of Sand without leaving the area. 40% chance to spawn.
Approx. level: 44
Ozmone Plain
The Switchback
Will appear when/if the in-game clock is between 10 and 39 minutes.
Approx. level: 38
Tchita Uplands
The Highland
40% chance to spawn.
Approx. level: 48
Henne Mines
Pithead Junction B
50% chance to spawn after flipping the switchboard.
Approx. level: 42
Stilshrine of Miriam
Ward of Velitation
Kill all three Dragon Aevises, exit the room, then enter again for it to spawn.
Approx. level: 45
Giza Plains (Dry)
Starfall Field
Chance to spawn instead of the Sleipnir at the southeast part of the area.
Approx. level: 36
Piebald Path
Spawns after being in the area for a minute.
Approx. level: 37
Phon Coast
Cape Tialan
40% chance to spawn.
Terror Tyrant
Approx. level: 50
Dalmasca Estersand
Broken Sands
40% chance to replace Wild Saurian.
Approx. level: 38
Phon Coast
Vaadu Strand
Stand on the cliff at the far edge of the map and look down.
Approx. level: 46
Nam-Yensa Sandsea
Yellow Sands
40% chance to spawn.
Approx. level: 50
Necrohol of Nabudis
Hall of the Ivory Covenant
Aggro a Dark Elemental in the area.
Approx. level: 38
Sochen Cave Palance
Destiny's March
Kill all Wendigos in the area.
Zombie Lord
Approx. level: 39
Tome of Raithwall
North-fall Passage
Will appear when/if the in-game clock is between 0 and 29 minutes.


How to open the Pilgrim's Door in the Sochen Cave Palace

I can't edit images well to save my life, but here is a (hopefully) helpful drawing of the route you must take in the Sochen Cave Palace to open the Pilgrim's Door and make way for Anubys, which will spawn as soon as you enter the room.

If this guide helped you and you're looking for even more information on the game, check out our other Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age guides!

FFXII: The Zodiac Age -- How to Get the Seitengrat Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:46:10 -0400 Ashley Shankle

There are 12 unique weapons in Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age, one for each job. But there's one other secret weapon you can get that is undeniably the strongest weapon in the game, and it can be obtained very early on. That weapon is the Seitengrat.

The Seitengrat has been a well-kept secret in Final Fantasy 12 since the International Zodiac Job System version. Getting it requires that you not only lucky enough to get an extremely rare chest to spawn but that you also time your opening of it to actually get the weapon. Otherwise, you'll get naught but a Knot of Rust or 10 Gil for your trouble.

Some who go for this bow want to feel powerful. Some feel using it is cheating. And others just want to collect everything. No matter the boat you're in, here's how you grab this baby (or don't) in The Zodiac Age.

So what's so good about the Seitengrat?

The Seitengrat can not only be equipped by any character regardless of job, it also has the highest stats in the entire game. It has a whopping 224 attack and 75 evasion, making whoever wears it hit like a semi truck while dodging just about every attack that comes their way.

The theory about this weapon has always been that it was meant for the developers or is simply a debug weapon. Its stats are insanely high, especially for how early you can get it. Not to mention it's completely invisible.

How to get the Seitengrat

On the PlayStation 2 IZJS version of Final Fantasy 12, players had to time going in and out of the doors near it and listen to the sounds their console made to get it. On the PS4, you need patience and good timing, which is much easier than the previous method but can still be a huge timesink.

You can do this as soon as you can take the skyferry from Rebastre to Nalbina, which is pretty early in the game.

So first things first: Head to Rebanastre's Aerodrome and hop on the skyferry from Rebanastre to Nalbina -- and be sure to choose the leisure craft option.

Getting the chest to spawn

On the airship, you need to make your way to the Air Deck area, specifically up the stairs on the Air Deck to the highest point. You should see a boy running around to the left.

There is a 1% chance that an invisible chest will spawn on the topmost platform of the Air Deck.

Check out the image below for the location -- Vaan is facing and touching the chest in the image, but unlike visible chests, there is no exclamation point to show you that it's there.

The boy you see behind Vaan will be your indicator for when to open the chest, once it finally spawns.

As chests respawn after leaving and reentering an area in TZA, you can simply repeatedly go in and out of the doors from the Observation Bay to the Air Deck to get the chest to spawn. But of course, you have to run up the stairs and ram yourself into the spot pictured above to see if it's there.

It's recommended you use either 2x or 4x speed to keep checking for the chest. It's easier to control Vaan at 2x, whereas it's definitely harder to keep a straight course up and down the stairs at 4x. Whichever speed you choose is up to you. Either way, just getting the chest to spawn is going to take several returns to the Air Deck.

Getting Seitengrat out of the chest

Running in and out of doors and up and down a flight of stairs may seem like the hard part in this endeavor (it can be ages before the chest spawns), but actually getting the chest to give up the Seitengrat is another matter entirely.

The boy mentioned above will be your guide in timing when to open the chest. As you'd expect, the timing is exceptionally hard to get down.

You have to open the chest when the boy is in the location shown above and begins to lift his arms. The video below (which is not mine) shows a player opening a chest at just the right moment. This will help a lot more than a screenshot from me could. Skip to 1:12 for the chest-opening action.


There are a few factors worth mentioning if you intend to hunt for the Seitengrat:

  1. What you get out of said chest is undoubtedly not determined when you enter the Air Deck. It is entirely related to NPC movement.

  2. Because the movement of all the NPCs in the area have an effect on the contents of the chest, you can't wait for the boy to make several trips before you're confident enough to try opening the chest. You can certainly sit there and wait for the boy to make a few trips back and forth before trying, but your chances of success will vary more widely should you wait.

  3. Reloading an autosave isn't going to help you. If you reload an autosave after opening the chest, when you return, the chest will be gone. You have to do this all 100% manually.

One could say that there is usually  a 1/10000 chance to get the Seitengrat out of the invisible chest, but just as players figured out when to open the chest via loading clicks on the PS2, the chances of getting it are far more reasonable if one uses the NPC movement method.

You will probably try for hours to get just one Seitengrat, but if you want one character in your party to be a total powerhouse and walk through the game with ease, it's worth it. I tried for three hours and finally got mine, and you can, too. Heck, you can even get more than one if you can stomach the tedium and RNG manipulation.

If this guide helped you out, check out our other (and ever-growing) Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age guides!

Final Fantasy XII: TZA - Learn to Use Gambits Through My Party Tue, 11 Jul 2017 13:36:09 -0400 Ashley Shankle

This Gambit guide may seem a little frivolous if you feel like you already mastered Final Fantasy 12's Gambit system a decade ago, but most players have trouble setting up effective Gambit chains that can be used in most situations.

Here we're going to go over my current playthrough's party and their Gambits to use as examples to help you make better use of your character's available Gambits and get some effective chains set up.

I've played the Final Fantasy 12: International Job System version three or four times before 2017's The Zodiac Age remaster. This is not my first rodeo with the remaster's new Gambits, and hopefully my experience having rammed myself into FF12 so much over the years will come to some sort of use.

General Gambit Advice

There are a lot of things I could say about Gambits, but I'll only touch on a few up here.

Some things you need for both your parties:

  • Both parties need someone to steal at basically every encounter
  • Both parties need someone to attack potential steal targets to keep whoever is stealing from doing it infinitely
  • Both parties need to have someone with Libra up at all times to see enemy information and traps

I've followed these three very simple rules since the original release, through IZJS, and into The Zodiac Age. They're good rules of thumb, and they're easy to follow. You'll get a good example of a Steal Gambit (and preventing stealing) in the first party, but the second party's use of Steal basically works the same way.

I also recommend always having at least one character per party default to attacking the lowest HP enemy when it doesn't have anything else to do, to prevent Magick and Technicks from being used on weak enemies.

Furthermore, it's always a good idea to have one character focus their attacks on the highest max HP enemy to always have some sort of focus on the strongest enemy in a group. You'll see both of these in the both parties below -- which aren't perfect, but they definitely get the job done.

The Magick element you have your casters use will vary from area to area, especially Black Mages and Red Battlemages. If there are enemies weak to a particular element in the area you're in, you're probably going to want to change your mages' spells to the element nearby enemies are weak to. This also applies to debuff removal spells and items.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at my current two parties and their Gambits so you can get some direct examples of an experienced player's Gambit setups. There are some pretty neat uses of Gambits in here, so pay attention!

The Parties in Question

This version of the game is the first iteration where characters can have two job classes instead of one, so don't judge me too harshly for my character/job combinations!

The parties I'm running this playthrough have yet to beat any but the story Espers, and have almost every Technick and Magick -- aside from the last two tiers, as I'm not done hunting everything down yet. This gives a realistic portrayal of an average player's mid-to-late game party's Gambits.

My character combinations and two parties are as follows:

Team "Two Kids and an Irritated Rabbit"

  • Vaan - Monk/Bushi
  • Penelo - Red Battlemage/Archer
  • Fran - Black Mage/Time Battlemage

This one has Penelo and Vaan sharing healing responsibilities for now, with Vann being switched to main healer once I've got the Espers for it (Monk is an amazing job).

All three are on damage duty, with Vaan using a Katana, Penelo doling out Dark Magick, and Fran on AoE/elemental duty. In 3+ enemy situations and against bosses, Vaan is the tank.

Team "The Only Relevant Characters"

  • Balthier - White Mage/Foebreaker
  • Basch - Time Battlemage/Shikari
  • Ashe - Uhlan/Machinist

This party has Balthier almost solely on healing duty, but also using Hand-bombs to do ranged damaged (with a chance of status effects), and Basch and Ashe on pure murder duty.

Basch doles out Time Magick when necessary and Ashe some Magick when in group fighting situations, plus some useful Technicks I use manually. Basch is the tank in this party in 3+ enemy and boss situations.

So now let's take a look at each party's current Gambits.

Team "Two Kids and an Irritated Rabbit"

Vaan - Monk/Bushi

Vaan is this team's hybrid healer-tank, with his healer responsibilities about to get a lot heavier with some Esper additions.

With this Gambit chain, he will revive allies with Phoenix Down (later Raise), heal at 40%, 30%, and 20% HP. Why so often? To split healing costs between MP and items, at least for now. Let's get to the good stuff.

Foe: HP = 100% - Steal is a must-have Gambit on both of your parties. I always prefer to have it on top of any other non-healing combat actions. Enemies don't stay at HP = 100% for long as Penelo, as you're about to see, is set to attack enemies at 100% HP to keep Vaan from endlessly stealing.

If you see the Technick Infuse and previously thought it worthless, this board should be of notice to you. Infuse consumes the user's MP in exchange for healing an ally for 10x the amount of MP consumed. But if the user has no MP, Infuse kills them.

To make Infuse work without the chance of killing Vaan, I've set up a Foe: character MP > 50% - Attack Gambit above the Infuse Gambit. This way Vaan will never use Infuse when his MP is below 50% -- but he won't use anything else below it when below 50% MP either.

Vaan is also set to Libra himself out of combat (notice the Self - Libra Gambit is below everything else) because Libra applies for an extended period of time.

In 3+ enemy situations I manually have either Penelo or Ashe cast Decoy on Vaan, as there is no way to have an ally cast a spell on another ally at a certain foe amount.

Penelo - Red Battlemage/Archer

Just to note, I kind of regret taking this class combination. I don't particularly recommend it.

As stated above, Penelo and Vaan are currently sharing healing responsibilities in this party. Penelo has more White Magick for now, but that will change.

Like with healing White Magick, Gambits for spells that clear status effects should be above offensive Gambits. You'll see this much better with Balthier -- but either way, you're still going to be clearing some status effects manually. Anyway, let's get to the offensive chain.

This party's success in harder 3+ enemy situations hinges on Fran casting Bio and Penelo casting Darkra, after which Penelo will cast Fira if Fran's Bio inflicts Sap on an enemy. However, Penelo will rarely cast Darkra right away, as she is set as the party's Foe: HP = 100% - Attack character to keep Vaan from repeatedly stealing.

If one has Sap on it after she's done plinking them down, she'll cast Fira (it uses less MP than Darkra) as per the Foe: status = Sap - Fira Gambit, which is above the Foe: 2+ foes present - Darkra Gambit. If two+ are left with no Sap, she will cast Darkra instead. If there are no enemies that fit this description, she will attack.

Penelo will cast Dispel on enemies with Reflect on before she attacks the ones at 100%, to keep Fran from accidentally killing the party -- and casts Regen when not in combat because Regen lasts some time.

Notice the Foe: character MP < 50% - Attack Gambit above all of her offensive spells. This is because she is also on healing duty and because she gains MP from attacking, she will never run out of MP just blowing enemies up.

Lastly, Penelo keeps Bubble on Vaan with the Ally: Vaan - Bubble Gambit at all times as he must take the brunt of damage in this party.

Fran - Black Mage/Time Battlemage

Black Mage Gambits are usually the easiest to understand (outside of characters that mostly just attack). Often they hinge on a number of Gambits focusing on foe weaknesses (Blizzaga on ice-weak, Aero on wind-weak, etc.). However this one is a little different from the norm.

I mentioned the Sap combo in Penelo's section, but with Fran's right here it can seem confusing. Here's how this goes:

  1. Fran will cast Bio at 3+ enemies even if her MP is below 50%
  2. If an enemy is inflicted with Sap from Bio, Fran will switch to attacking the target and Penelo will cast Fira on it

Due to the Foe: character MP < 50% Gambit being below Fran's Foe 2+ and 3+ Gambits, she will cast Bio even if her MP is below 50%. Ditto on Blizzaga on 2+ enemies. Fran will not cast Blizzara on a single enemy if she is below that threshold.

Because Foe: status = Reflect - Attack is at the very top of Fran's offensive Gambits, she will prioritize attacking enemies with Reflect instead of casting on them and potentially killing her party. Penelo's Dispel should deal with the problem in due time.

And lastly, Fran will make sure Penelo has Haste on her.. as long as Fran doesn't have anything else to cast beforehand.

Just to note, you don't have to set your Poach Gambit to Foe: HP < 30 - Poach. The HP threshold for Poach Gambits should be based on your personal preference and the relative strength of the enemies in the area you're fighting. 30% is a little generous, but setting to "HP Critical" just won't net results often enough. This is a Gambit you need to turn off for boss fights.

Team "The Only Relevant Characters"

You know this team name is truthful. This party is very different from the previous, with one dedicated healer and two relatively tanky characters at the helm.

Basch - Time Battlemage/Shikari

There's a lot different here from Vaan's Gambits -- Basch is a murder machine.

The first thing you should notice here is the Self: 3+ foes present - Decoy Gambit, which ensures Basch will be taking the brunt of enemy hate in fights against multiple enemies. This type of Gambit is not present in the previous party, as Vaan has no Green Magick at his disposal. Decoy must be cast manually in the other party.

Basch does not cast a lot of Time Magick via Gambits with this set up, as he is a Ninja Sword-wielding Shikari first and foremost -- but he is set up to AoE slow via the Foe: 3+ foes present - Slowga Gambit, after which he will resort to attacking if Slow sticks.

The big thing to note here is the use of the spell Balance, which deals damage in an area equal to the amount of HP the character is missing. Basch has a massive amount of HP when paired with Balthier's Bubble (doubles total HP), making Foe: character HP < 70% - Balance extremely powerful. However he will not cast it, nor anything else but Decoy and Haste, at below 50% MP.

You can also see Basch casts Haste on Balthier out of combat to ensure his heals and attacks come fast and furious, as well as casts Self - Libra on himself to grant additional enemy information and reveal traps.

Ashe - Uhlan/Machinist

This is another job combination I'm not too fond of, but I digress. Here we are, and we're working with it.

This Gambit layout is pretty simple. She casts Cure at 30% Ally HP < 30% as a backup, but with Balthier at the healing helm she ends up not doing it all that often.

Uhlan specializes in stabbing things to death with its spear, but also has access to some Black Magick. That is what we're looking at here, as well as a reaction to Basch's Slowga, in which Ashe casts Shades of Black via the Foe: status = Slow - Shades of Black Gambit.

In addition to Basch's casting Slowga at 3 enemies, Ashe will cast Blizzara on 3+ foes to start whittling them down at the beginning of a fight. As this party has no true tank unlike the previous, it must burst down enemies quickly and mitigate damage.

Ashe's use of Foe: character HP = 100% - Souleater is unique from the other characters because spears do a high amount of damage in a single hit, and Souleater's damage is based off the character's weapon damage. It eats a chunk of her HP, which is generally slowly regained via Regen.

Balthier - White Mage/Foebreaker

This is a really typical White Mage Gambit setup. White Mages are the busiest job in the game, and yours will probably have a set up similar to my Balthier's (with some variances in status ailments).

Balthier is set as this party's Foe: HP = 100% - Attack character to offset Ashe from stealing through every encounter, which is made easier by his use of Hand-bombs from Foebreaker. It will probably be different for you.

My White Mage is the only character allowed to use Ethers on itself using the Self: MP < 20% - Ether Gambit, as a healer with no MP means a dead party. In addition, Balthier keeps Bubble up on Basch at all times (unless he's busy healing) to ensure he has a huge HP pool.


That's about all I can say about my current party's Gambit set up and general advice on the subject. But this is certainly not the only guide I've written for Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age! If you're curious about the game's job classes and their capabilities, check out my FFXII: TZA job class guide. I am currently working up a full job class combination resource, which will outline every combination's available licenses and Espers (and their locked licenses). Expect that big boy in the coming days.

When you're done here, check out the rest of my FF12 guides for even more sage wisdom. 

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Tips to Live By Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:24:30 -0400 Ashley Shankle

There is a whole lot to say about Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age, and most of it can't be crammed into some generic tips article. Luckily, there are plenty of things that can be.

Now, just to note: If you're looking for information on the game's twelve job classes, you're probably better off wandering to my job class guide. Most people are looking for job information right now to build a postgame-ready party, so that article may be more down your alley.

If you're new to Final Fantasy 12 or haven't played it in ages, I've got some pretty decent advice for you. In some ways the game is very linear, but anything that's not story content is pretty obtuse and open-ended. Hopefully these tips will help you on your way as you push through all Ivalice has to offer.

Gambit Advice

Save time by setting up an effective stealing gambit chain

How do you save time by having a character use Steal on nearly every enemy you come across? The answer to that is simple enough: The more Gil you make on your travels, the less time you have to spend grinding for it.

Final Fantasy 12 has always been a grind-heavy game, and despite all of the changes seen in The Zodiac Age, it still is. You grind for EXP, LP, and loot to sell for Gil -- but if you set up a reliable gambit chain geared towards stealing, you won't have to grind for that last one on the list anywhere near as much.

My personal favorite way to set up my gambits for a character to steal is as follows:

  • Foe: HP = 100% - Steal on a character with the Steal Technick
  • Foe: HP = 100% - Attack on any other character in the party

You want both your parties to have a character that steals and another that prioritizes attacking enemies that character will steal from, in order to prevent your stealing character from doing so repeatedly on the same target.

This method works well in most situations, but beware fights where there are several enemies.

The Infuse Technick doesn't suck, here's a method to use it

There's a pretty high chance you're going to have one character almost completely lacking in Magick spells but has the Technick Infuse, which consumes the user's MP to heal the target's HP for 10x the amount. Eating all the user's MP is a big catch, but the bigger one is that the user will die if they try to use Infuse without any MP.

You may be interested in using the Technick and you may not, but here's an example of how to use it effectively:

  • Foe: Character MP < 50% - Attack
  • Ally: < 20% HP - Infuse

Here's how I have it set up on Vaan in my current playthrough.

This way the character will not use Infuse unless they are above 50% HP -- but they won't use anything below it, either.

Have a hybrid support who has to use MP between healing and damaging?

In these instances you can use the same type of Gambit chain as seen above, where you have a Foe: Character MP < 50% - Attack (or any MP amount) Gambit above offensive Gambits on your setup, but below the support/healing Gambits. This way your hybrid will almost always have MP leftover after nuking to support the party in the middle of combat.

I go over a lot more than this in my Learn to Use Gambits Through My Party guide, which uses my current playthrough's party as an example and explains its Gambit setups for new players.

You can heal/buff inactive characters without having to swap them

To do this, you press X and wander your way to White Magick, choose the spell you want to cast, and then press left for a full list of characters. You can heal and buff anyone this way without having to swap them in/out of your party.


Completing hunts opens up more hunts as well as Green Magicks

Several of the game's hunts require you complete previous ones to open up, that much is simple enough to figure out on your own. But how do they affect Green Magicks?

When you reach certain ranks in Clan Centurio, new Green Magicks (and exclusive accessories) open up at the clan shop. Green Magicks are useful, as you'll find out quickly with Decoy and Bubble -- two must-have spells for more difficult encounters.

Teleport Stones and Gyshal Greens, where are you?

If you've just been pushing through doing story content or not checking random vendors, you probably missed out on the fact both Teleport Stones and Gyshal Greens can be purchased on airships as soon as you choose to travel by leisure.

Each Teleport Stone costs 200 and is a worthwhile investment if you don't want to have to manually travel all over the place. Make sure to keep a bunch on-hand, and be careful not to sell them at vendors when getting rid of your loot!

As for Gyshal Greens, which cost 108 Gil, there are certain instances where it's useful to have them on-hand to get to secret areas.

As an added note, there is a vendor riding a chocobo in the Port of Balfonheim where you can buy Teleport Stones and Gyshal Greens later on in the game (and not on an airship) if you've already been pushing through.

Always steal from rare game, marks on hunts, and bosses

There are a number of items you can only get from specific enemies, and there are plenty of Bazaar items locked to these rare items from them. Before you kill anything you know or think is rare or one of a kind, make sure you steal from it beforehand even if it disrupts you from killing it.

There are some instances where it can take several times to steal from an enemy. Suck it up, because it may be worth it.

Make selling loot easier by pressing left then up

There is no need to slowly add all the loot you've collected of a certain type when selling at a vendor.

The easiest and fastest way to sell, if selling something with 3 or more to a stack, is to press left and then hold (or press) up instead. This way it counts by 10s instead of 1s.

Turn off double (or quadra) speed in hard fights

If you know you're in a situation where you're going to have trouble, turn off that speed increase and do it the old (slow) way.

In boss or Esper fights where every action matters or when overwhelmed with enemies, you could easily save your party members' lives by going at the default speed to more easily stay on top of what is happening and act accordingly.

Press L3 to open the overlay map

In case you forgot. This is such a huge improvement over the original it's staggering.

Press down on the D-pad to change the player-controlled character in combat

Something I myself forgot upon coming back, this makes changing who is leader a snap.

Giza's weather is a pain

You either want it rainy or dry, and it's never the weather you want it to be. Does that sound familiar?

The weather in the Giza Plains seems unpredictable, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

Normally they change every two in-game (not realtime) hours after you visit the Henne Mines. So each two hours you play the game, the weather in Giza changes. Unless you're actually in the Giza Plains, then the weather will stay the same until you leave.

There is a Seeq in Rebanastre's Southgate that can help you keep track.

Halfway through the game his name will change to "Weather Eye". From that point forward you can talk to him to find out when the next weather change will come about.

Have a character have Libra up at all times

Both of your parties should have one character that has Libra on them at all times.

Libra allows you to see enemy stats, buffs, and weaknesses; as well as traps. Keeping it on will make your life easier.

What about all these spells I don't have?

Not every spell can be purchased in The Zodiac Age. A large number of Magicks and Technicks have to be found out and about. A guide on their locations is coming soon.

No, you don't have to avoid chests to get the Zodiac Spear

This was a big issue in the original Final Fantasy 12, but in The Zodiac Age the requirement to get the weapon has changed to something more reasonable. What is that requirement? You'll just have to wait and see.


That's all I've got for this guide! Be sure to check out the rest of my FF12: The Zodiac Age guides for more sage wisdom to help you through this remastered game.

What's New, Different in Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:16:04 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age is almost upon us, and whether you're a fan of the series as a whole or a fan of the original game, it's something to be excited about.

The Zodiac Age isn't just a regular remaster -- it's a remaster of a previously Japan-only version of the game titled Final Fantasy 12 International Zodiac Job System (also known as known as IZJS). This has been the definitive version of the game since its release in 2007 (a mere year after the vanilla game's release).

Unlike some of the other "International" Japan-only rereleases of Final Fantasy games that brought minor changes and bugfixes, IZJS brought a myriad of system and gameplay changes to Final Fantasy 12 that for many, elevated it from a mediocre game to a solid entry to the series. Myself included.

There are so many differences between vanilla FFXII and IZJS that it's impossible to list them all here, but I am going to go into the heftiest adjustments and additions coming in the upcoming release of The Zodiac Age. I am not sure how much has changed between IZJS and The Zodiac Age, aside from one key function. Everything else seems the same sans the typical remaster additions such as the improved graphics and reorchestrated soundtrack.

Whether you've played Final Fantasy 12 before or this will be your first rodeo in this snapshot of Ivalice history, you will be pleasantly surprised by the systems and changes in The Zodiac Age.

Zodiac Age Job Classes

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age still uses the license board system as it did on the PlayStation 2, but gone are the days of everyone being able to do everything. Now there are multiple license boards, one for each job.

When a character joins your party for the first time, you have to choose its job class before you can start investing LP into licenses. This is not a decision that can be undone and your party's set ups will have a huge impact on how easily you progress and can take on side content later on.

In the original version of the game, every character had access to the same license board and players had to prioritize the direction in which they wanted each character to go based on what they wanted them to do first, with the final result being every character having essentially the same skills and equipment options.

This time around, you're still going to be choosey about the directions your characters take with their boards, but there is no "one size fits all" license board to work with as in the original game. Each job has its own license board, forcing each character to specialize in something.

These are the classes in The Zodiac Age:

  • White Mage
  • Black Mage
  • Archer
  • Bushi
  • Foebreaker
  • Knight
  • Machinist
  • Monk
  • Red Battlemage
  • Time Battlemage
  • Shikari
  • Uhlan
Job Augmentation

This is a feature unique to The Zodiac Age that was not present in the original Japan-only IZJS version of Final Fantasy 12.

Job augmentation will allow you to have two job classes on a single character once you've reached the license for it on the character's license board. This will give a single character access to the bonuses, equipment, and abilities of a second class along with the initial jobs.

For those who played IZJS, this is a huge boon that makes choosing your initial job less of a life or death choice.

Fast Forward Button

Much of anyone's time in Final Fantasy 12 is spent grinding for XP or Gil, and in this version, it's easier than ever thanks to the speed multiplier that can be toggled on or off at whim.

You can either play the game at standard speed, 2x speed, or 4x speed. This doesn't just make pushing through every encounter faster -- it makes grinding far less of a timesink. The speed up is fantastic in any playthrough, whether standard or in one of the New Game+ modes.

Zodiac Age's Post-Game Content

All those job classes and the speed up button really come in handy in the game's two New Game+ modes and the new Trial mode.

Upon completing the game once, you unlock New Game+ Strong mode, which starts every character at level 90. This sounds great, but do keep in mind nothing you obtained in the previous playthrough will carry over.

The new Trial mode pits your storyline party against foes in 100 battles and presents a true challenge to complete. Once completed, you'll unlock New Game+ Weak mode.

Weak mode, which starts each character at a very low level (1 ~ 3) and grants no XP gains. Like Strong mode, nothing you have in your previous playthrough will be carried over. Weak mode is where you really need to put thought into your job choices and party compositions.

Removal of the Damage Cap

Easy enough to understand -- the previous damage cap of 9,999 has been removed. You can and will do damage well over the 10k mark and beyond.

Weapon Tweaks, Plus New Weapons

A number of weapons were tweaked or added in IZJS and have been carried over to The Zodiac Age. Each job class has a weapon unique to it, provided you can find it.

Not only that, but the completely terrible method of getting the Zodiac Spear in the original version of the game has been changed to something more reasonable. I won't spoil what it is -- just don't be scared of open chests in The Zodiac Age.

Not All Magicks or Technicks Can Be Purchased

That's right, you have to find them. A number of particularly useful spells and skills have to be found in chests rather than purchased. If you know where they are and can reach their locations, you can obtain some particularly useful ones early on.

All Gambits are Available From the Start

As soon as the game lets you freely go shopping, you can buy every Gambit in the game right away. I generally did this on my IZJS playthroughs every time just to get it out of the way.

In addition, there are more than 10 new Gambits to play with, some of them are more useful than others.

Espers Can Now Be Controlled

Espers were always really cool in Final Fantasy 12 but you had no control over how they acted and their built-in Gambits weren't great.

In The Zodiac Age, you can take control of your Espers as party leader and even change their Gambits up in the Party menu once they're summoned. They were cool before, but now they're even better.

As an added note, guest party members are also customization and can be directly controlled.

Quickenings No Longer Eat MP

Quickenings eating the entirety of a character's MP was my biggest qualm with the original Final Fantasy 12, and luckily in this version that system has been revamped.

Now instead of MP, triggering Quickenings uses a unique resource with three bars. The bars replenish as a character doles out or takes damage, which is far more efficient than eating all a character's MP.

Chests Now Respawn After Going One Screen Over

It used to be that chests would respawn after you went two screens over, but in this version chests will now respawn after you go over only one screen.

This is pretty useful, especially if you know a particular chest has something you want but hasn't given it to you yet. With this said, not every chest has a 100% chance to spawn.


Final Fantasy 12 IZJS was easily one of my favorite games on the PlayStation 2, and I'm excited that I, and a myriad of other Final Fantasy fans and newcomers, will finally be able to bite into this meaty morsel fully in English. Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age is nearly a new game, and not just because of the job class system.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Release Date Revealed Tue, 31 Jan 2017 04:32:53 -0500 Kris Cornelisse (Delfeir)

The worldwide release date of the remastered Final Fantasy XII was announced at the Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary event's Opening Ceremony today. Originally unveiled in June last year, PS4 owners will be able to pick up The Zodiac Age on July 11th in North America and Europe, or July 13th in Japan.

Heavily updated from the original release on PS2, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is based on the improved International Version of the game that was never released outside of Japan (oh, the irony). Improvements include the addition of a revamped job system and relevant License Boards, faster movement speeds and numerous battle tweaks.

The HD remaster also includes -- naturally -- a full update on the graphics and sounds, bringing the already pretty-for-the-era game up to modern standards. Improved loading times and auto-save functionality will also be included, all of which are welcome additions.

If you can't wait that long to re-experience the wonders of Ivalice, we've already shown off some updated gameplay footage from E3 2016 for you to enjoy.

There'll be more Final Fantasy related news in the coming days as the 30th Anniversary continues, so stay tuned!

5 Final Fantasy Games That are Better Than Final Fantasy XV Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:06:06 -0500 Pablo Seara

Finally, Final Fantasy XV, the latest entry in the well-known franchise, is available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is a game many of us have waited for far too long, and it is now in our reach. After playing the game for some time -- and enjoying it a lot -- our fellow reviewer concluded that it is a worthy installment in the Final Fantasy series.

However, it is not one of the best Final Fantasy games of all time. There are other games in the Final Fantasy series that are masterpieces. These include titles from the main line, as well as spin-offs originated from the franchise.

In this list, we are going to take a look at five Final Fantasy titles that are better than (and perhaps helped influence) Final Fantasy XV, from all consoles and all origins -- and in no particular order.

Warning: There may be spoilers for FFXV found in the following paragraphs. If you want to stay completely in the dark about Final Fantasy XV until you have had the chance to play it, tread carefully!

Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI is probably the best game in the franchise and the pinnacle of the classic JRPG genre. The final installment in the SNES trilogy, Final Fantasy VI excels in all its elements, from the story to the gameplay. It is a pure, unadulterated Japanese role-playing game. It has turn-based combat, an interesting and surprising plot, likable, deep characters and much more.

The story of Final Fantasy VI revolves around The Replicants, a group who fights against the Gestahlian Empire, which is led by Emperor Gestahl and Kefka Palazzo, the best villain in the series (sorry Sephiroth). The game has the biggest selection of playable characters in any FF game, each one with unique skills and traits. AND the title has one of the most memorable moments in gaming history: the opera scene.

Finally, Final Fantasy XV antagonists, the Empire of Niflheim, share many similarities with the Gestahlian Empire. Both of them are more advanced than the rest of the nations in their respective worlds, and they both use Magical Technology -- or Magitek. So, it is safe to say that Final Fantasy VI had some influence on the Final Fantasy XV. 

Final Fantasy Tactics

Although Final Fantasy Tactics is considered a non-main title for the franchise and is a strategy game instead of a turn-based RPG, it is considered not only one of the best tactical-RPG titles ever made, but also one of the best Final Fantasy entries ever made.

This series of spin-offs takes all the characteristic elements of Final Fantasy, like the monsters, jobs and atmosphere, and introduces them in a tactical role-playing title. It was first released for the original PlayStation, and later as an enhanced port for the PSP, with the subtitle The War of the Lions.

The story of Final Fantasy Tactics takes place in Ivalice, a world torn by war, political intrigue, religious cults and treasonous subterfuge. The main character is a young noble named Ramza Beoulve, who discovers a sinister plot behind all the fatal events that devastate the land. The game has one of the most complex and darkest stories in Final Fantasy.

Dealing with themes like death class discrimination and the miseries of war, Final Fantasy Tactics talks about very real-world issues in extremely relatable ways. It also includes dozens of characters, sub-plots and interesting, three-dimensional relationships, which add huge amounts of depth to the backstory.

Final Fantasy XV also seems to adopt a little bit of the dark atmosphere of Final Fantasy Tactics. However, its approach is completely different. Noctis and his friends are a cheerful group, who believe that the journey is better than the destination, and who make the most out of all moments, both big and small. Conversely, Ramza cannot have a moment of rest, and the events that take place in FF: Tactics taint his soul.

Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX was the last chapter of the franchise for the original PlayStation and marked the series' return to a medieval, fantastical setting after the previous two installments took place in more modern, steampunk worlds. 

Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy, is especially fond of FF IX and has stated that this was his original vision for the series as a whole.

Final Fantasy IX tells the magical tale of Zidane Tribal and the Princess Garnet von Alexandros. The story, like many JRPGs, begins with a simple objective: flee Alexandria to the neighboring kingdom of Lindblum. During the small journey, Garnet changes her name to Dagger, blends with the villagers and learns from them. However, everything changes when they get to Lindblum and learn that her mother, Queen Brahne, has invaded the land...

What is more, crystals are very important in both Final Fantasy IX and XV. In FF IX, the Crystal World is the origin of life and contains the memories of the planet. In FF XV, Lucis possesses the last known crystal in the world, and it is the main reason for Niflheim's invasion.

Kingdom Hearts II

Kingdom Hearts originated as a spin-off to Final Fantasy, a crossover between the role-playing franchise and Disney. After the original Kingdom Hearts, it developed into a franchise of its own, much in the same way Persona did.

The first title was a great surprise, with a colorful blend of styles, an inspiring, beautiful story and an original gameplay mechanic. However, Kingdom Hearts II is considered superior in many ways.

Taking place one year after the events of the first game and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, a title for the GameBoy Advance, Kingdom Hearts II expands upon the already convoluted (yet endearing) story, adding new worlds, new characters from Disney and Final Fantasy, different subplots and much more.

When Final Fantasy XV was first revealed as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the gameplay was a direct evolution of Kingdom Hearts' system. After ten years and many demos, FFXV is now a very different game, but it still shares some similarities with Kingdom Hearts' combat system.

Final Fantasy XII

Finally, there is Final Fantasy XII, the most underrated title in the whole Final Fantasy franchise. It is a flawed game, sure, with a declining story, a pair of insignificant, unlikeable main characters and an MMO-ish combat that did not convince a dedicated group of core-players. But, surprisingly, this same battle system is exactly why a vast extension of gamers love the game. Truly, the battle system is the main characteristic that sets it apart from other Final Fantasy games  -- and what makes it extremely addictive.


Because Final Fantasy XII is the first non-online main Final Fantasy game to introduce substantial changes to the core gameplay, like gambits (automatic patterns), battles that take place in real-time, a licensing system, and more. This is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy XV, a game that separates the most from the traditional turn-based combat system the franchise is known for.

Final Fantasy XII also takes place in Ivalice and shares many similarities with Final Fantasy: Tactics. Both stories revolve around war-torn nations, focus mainly on humans and are rich and complex in their storytelling. Revisiting Ivalice in a more expansive, modern and developed setting was one of the big reasons why players fell in love with the game.


As you can see, there are many Final Fantasy games that deserve to be played if you are a fan of the series -- or just getting started! The main line of Final Fantasy games is extremely good, but there are spin-offs (and other series that share parts of the series lore) that deal with different (and sometimes dark) ideas in gameplay, settings, and story lines.

And while Final Fantasy XV is a great and wonderful game you should definitely check out, it was not able to reach the top of the franchise simply because it's competition was so fierce -- and good.

So, what do you think of these games in the Final Fantasy franchise? Are they superior to Final Fantasy XV? Tell us in the comments below!

Why Won't Final Fantasy Die? Thu, 14 Jul 2016 12:58:17 -0400 Noor Sami

Begun in 1987 with the first title of the series, Final Fantasy has since grown to become one of the best-selling video game franchises ever. The fifteenth installment of the series is set to release this September after years of waiting and dubious excuses. Aside from the 15 main games, there are countless spin-offs, including movies, manga and anime series. When the Internet makes lists about their favorite RPGs, Final Fantasy VII is inevitably included; the game has an enduring legacy to this day. It’s an impressive feat for a game franchise to make it through this many games (and decades) and still manage to generate hype for future titles. All of this begs the question: why won’t Final Fantasy die?

Nearly every main installment of the series has received positive scores on Metacritic, although after Final Fantasy X it seems the scores never held up to the earlier games in the series. Where Final Fantasy X boasts a score of 92, XIII has an 83. The second MMORPG installment to the series, Final Fantasy XIV, faced larger criticism from critics and players, resulting in delayed PlayStation 3 release until eventually Square Enix revamped the game entirely; now there is speculation that the game will make it to the Xbox One due to popular demand. Despite these setbacks, Final Fantasy remains an enduring series, a fact we can see in the progression of the 15th installment.

If you’re an old hand at Final Fantasy, you’ll remember when Final Fantasy XV was still called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. It began development in 2006 as a spin-off title to the Fabula Nova Crystallis subseries started with Final Fantasy XIII. Brief trailers for the game got fans buzzing with interest, as developers claimed it would be the darkest game of the series yet. However, slow development resulted in speculation as to whether the game would ever even be released at all.

Eventually, it was decided that it would no longer be a spin-off and instead hold the coveted spot of the next main franchise installment. After that development picked up speed and rekindled fan interest. And at last, after nearly a decade of waiting, the official release date of September 30, 2016, was announced. Now Final Fantasy XV has made it to the number one spot on Famitsu’s most wanted games list.  

So let’s take a look at why Final Fantasy has made it this far, with its massive fan base and worldwide recognition. (Warning: there are spoilers ahead, although these games are old enough that this shouldn’t be an issue.)

The Storyline

That’s the most obvious reason. When you think about Final Fantasy, you think about the ragtag band of AVALANCHE fighting to save their world from a heartless corporation, or about Squall and Seifer’s famous scar-inducing training session. Final Fantasy is famous for storylines that get you invested in the characters and the plot, playing through to make sure they make it out alive. Aerith’s sacrifice in VII is still considered one of the biggest video game plot twists ever.

There is a stark difference between Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy and American RPGs like The Elder Scrolls. The latter is known for its open-world storyline, where there’s a massive universe for the player to explore, and every choice the player makes affects the story. In the end, the main storyline almost takes a back burner to the rest of the game. JRPGs, however, places much more emphasis on the storyline and the characters. You’re watching the story unfold as you go, and although there are still side quests and explorations to do, the main story is the most important part. And as far as JRPGs go, Final Fantasy does the enduring storyline extraordinarily well.  

Sure, the Final Fantasy dialogue can get pretty cheesy, but the stories still hold you—Aerith’s sacrifice, Tidus and Yuna’s kiss. Those scenes are incredibly memorable. Not to mention the grand, fantastical quality the stories tend to take—good versus evil, the underdogs fighting to save the world against impossible odds. (And the beautiful soundtracks certainly contribute to that grandness.)

The Characters

Hand-in-hand with the storyline comes the characters. The handful of main characters that make up your party in each Final Fantasy installment are always enjoyable caricatures. Nearly every character who fights alongside you will have a backstory, often as intriguing as the main protagonists. Barret Wallace of Final Fantasy VII especially comes to mind; his story involving the death of his best friend which led him to take his friend’s daughter in as his own is fleshed out and memorable.

The villains are no lesser. Although they do play into the massive, fantastical evil that is so characteristic of large-scale fantasy, they still frequently had backstories that made them sympathetic as well as deplorable. Kuja of Final Fantasy IX is an especially interesting antagonist, one who loves luxury but brings destruction and war to the world. In reality, he is insecure, unsure of his identity and robbed of a childhood.

Though Seymour of Final Fantasy X morphs into evil by the end of the game, there’s still a bit of sympathy attached to his character. Half-Guado and half-human, he was exiled and considered an abomination. And of course, Sin is an incredibly conceived “character,” shocking in the reveal that it’s Tidus’s father inside Sin all along.


Final Fantasy is known for its utilization of magic. Every game involves magic as a key component of the battle system, and players strategize using their enemies’ magical weaknesses. Final Fantasy VII has materia to equip magic and other abilities to party members, and Final Fantasy VIII has the Junction System. The franchise always has its unique leveling systems, as well, allowing players to switch characters between various traditional classes like mage, thief, and warrior, rather than being trapped in one form.

X and XII have the Sphere Grid and License Board respectively, each of which lets players increase the various abilities of characters in whatever way they want. Characters that might have been designed to be mages, like Lulu of X, can still be leveled up to become a warrior. The dress spheres of Final Fantasy X-2 perform a similar feat. This versatility ultimately makes leveling much more interesting.


Ultimately, these features that are definitely debatable combine to make the Final Fantasy franchise so popular and long-lived. As all popular games do, they have many critics, but it’s undeniable that the series has made it this far for a reason. The release of the next installment this September will provide a glimpse into the future of the franchise, and whether it will continue to make waves like it does today.

Final Fantasy XII remaster announced for PS4! Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:55:05 -0400 TheSmartestMoron

You read that right. This morning we received the announcement, and the trailer, for a remastered version of Final Fantasy XII. Those in North America will be thrilled to learn that this is not just a simple remaster of the old version -- it is instead a remastering of the international version.

This version never left Japan, despite it featuring English voice acting. The freshly released trailer shows off some of the gameplay and cut-scene footage:

Compared to the original game, this version included 12 license boards as opposed to just one, each a part of a Zodiac (hence the new title), and included a job system as well. Also included was a faster running speed, summons and controllable guest characters, more tweaks to combat, and even new modes such as New Game minus (where players do not gain experience) and Trial mode (which allows players to hunt over 100 monsters for money and items).

There is even more to be added, based on reports from Famitsu translated by Kotaku. These features include an auto-save function, shorter load times, and an improved turbo mode. It will even feature both the original and re-recorded soundtrack as well.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is set for release in Japan in 2017, developed by Square Enix. There is currently no word on a North American release. Considering we did eventually get the Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts games in collections however, it's entirely possible we can get this version.

A look at the Final Fantasy series from best to worst Tue, 24 Nov 2015 06:42:03 -0500 Ty Arthur


Final Fantasy XV is now on the horizon, and the highly anticipated remake of FF7 is coming as well, so there's no shortage of major releases arriving soon for RPG lovers.


If the huge number of releases up till this point are any indication, we probably have many, many more spin-offs and numbered titles still on the horizon as Square Enix experiments with the formula and heads in new directions.


What did you think of our picks, and what order would you have placed the best to worst ranking of Final Fantasy games?


Worst: Final Fantasy 13


You know how everyone feels about Final Fantasy 12? That's how I feel about part 13. Seriously, this abomination needs to be nuked from orbit and then some men in black need to show up and wipe the disappointment of FF13 from our memories. This is the only game in the series I've actually put down in disgust and never had any desire to pick back up again. That's 10 hours I'll never get back.


The first entry for the PS3 / Xbox 360 era may have enhanced visuals, but absolutely everything else was a tragic misstep. The absolute bottom of the Final Fantasy barrel, XIII made the tragic mistake of losing composer Nobuo Uematsu and then gave the double whammy of actively annoying characters (Vanille is the worst thing to ever happen to gaming) and a truly uninteresting combat system.


No matter how badly FF15 gets nerfed, I take solace in knowing it can't be as bad as this entry in the series.



Final Fantasy Mystic Quest


Mystic Quest is one of the very few Final Fantasy games to never get a remake or re-release, and unfortunately there's a reason for that. The combat system switched to a different view more along the lines of Phantasy Star, and the story and characters were incredibly weak, mostly existing as vehicles for a never-ending string of monotonous battles.


Trudging through the constant onslaught of repetition becomes a serious chore that makes Mystic Quest hard to play for extended periods. Despite all that, I have to admit I still I have a soft spot in my heart for this red-headed stepchild of the FF series, mostly because of the many hours I put into it as a young 'un. And on the plus side, it's not Final Fantasy 13.



Final Fantasy 2


Not many games open with your party getting utterly annihilated, so FF2 has that unique start going for it. Everywhere else it remains as difficult to get into as the first game in the series, but without the nostalgia factor since it didn't hit the U.S. until decades after its Japanese launch.


Final Fantasy 2 definitely has the most odd skill and leveling system for the series, improving your stats as you use them in battle or as you are hit by enemy attacks rather than as you gain experience points.


Even for its age, the game design wasn't the greatest, as you could literally walk into an area where you'd die immediately in every battle without any warning or prompting to stay away until reaching a higher level.



Final Fantasy 3


Playing the original NES/Famicon versions of the first three games in the Final Fantasy franchise, the visual style is incredibly similar with only minor graphical tweaks. The major differences were instead in the leveling and class systems.


Final Fantasy 3 is where many of the iconic elements of the series that appear in every game originated, but, unfortunately, they were only gestating here and not fully developed. Lacking the nostalgia of the original or the more polished style of the SNES games to come, FF3 exists mostly as a curiosity to be explored to see how far the series has come.


For those who can't handle the simple graphics and clunky controls, updated 3D versions with gameplay tweaks came to the Nintendo DS, the PSP, and the PC.



Final Fantasy 10


As a kid who grew up on the excellent storytelling and very different art style of the SNES and PS1 days, I never developed the same emotional connection to the PS2 games the next generation of RPG lovers has, so frankly I'm not a big fan of this entry.


Swapping out characters directly in battle was neat and some of the characters had their moments, but overall this is one of the weaker entries in Final Fantasy history on most other fronts.


Adding underwater football also really didn't do anything for me, as I found myself wondering why I was learning Blitzball plays instead of battling monsters or saving the world...



Final Fantasy 5


While graphically pleasing (for the early SNES days anyway) and fleshing out the class system that would become very famous later on, there's actually a lot wrong with this game.


Taking place in a variety of worlds that only had a few quests each meant that huge areas were pointless, and it's easy to get lost without figuring out just where you are supposed to go. The game also gets fairly repetitive after a few hours, and it's worth mentioning that in the North American version your main character's name is, oddly, “Butz.”


Nobody in North America played it (legitimately anyway) for a long time due to the lack of an official release until much later on, so FF5 really missed its window to shine. Of course, everybody in the know had downloaded an English translation ROM way before Squaresoft figured out people actually wanted to play this game and gave it a proper stateside release.



Final Fantasy 8


Although the graphics improved and many new elements were added in, the characters just weren't as likable nor the story as engaging as Final Fantasy 8's groundbreaking predecessor. Adding in a card game was an interesting twist for a time when kids were still trading Pokemon cards at recess, providing an extra level of depth for those who spent the time learning its mechanics.


Some of the changes were hit or miss, as the game didn't just completely change the magic system, it even changed the menu system. Letting you swap out which three abilities you wanted was cool in theory, but it was annoying to decide whether you wanted magic or items for the next few battles.


The characters were sometimes amusing and charming... and sometimes just flat out annoying. I'm still split on which side of that divide Laguna lands when he gets a leg cramp while trying to muster the courage to chat up a sexy singer and then somehow gets her back to his hotel room but doesn't make a move.



Final Fantasy


This is where it all started, and whoever would have guessed the absolutely massive industry it spawned? Going back and playing it today there's a huge D&D influence to the first game (especially in the magic system) that many probably missed back then.


Needless to say, this is a very bare bones game where the formula hadn't been refined yet. Some of the classes were completely pointless, and the combat system was in need of serious polish (you could actually attack an empty space if another attack took down an enemy), but there's a nostalgia to be had here, especially in that distinctly '80s fantasy box art.


The witch Matoya's backwards talking broomsticks are also a little gem of gaming history that have been referenced in all kinds of media since those heady early days of console role-playing games.



Final Fantasy 4


Released as Final Fantasy 2 originally in North America, this is another game in the franchise that's completely iconic and remembered fondly but actually has a ton of flaws.


While I probably played this game a couple of dozen times as a kid, returning to it as an adult will cause more than a few cringes. Despite the memorable characters and fun gameplay, much of the dialog and plotting is flat-out bad (who can forget such heart felt insults as “You spoony bard?”). But hey, you get to fly a space whale to the moon!


This was also one of the earlier games to feature major character deaths that really stuck with you, as well as villains that you won't soon forget. The music from that battle against the dancing calcobrena dolls thoroughly creeped me out as a kid, and I can still hum it to this day.


If you want to return to the kingdom of Baron and see what happened with Rose and Cecil's kids, there was a direct sequel for the Wii (in the exact same original art style) released in episodic format, with each segment revolving around a different character.



Final Fantasy 12


This one may be a bit controversial ranking above others, as plenty of Final Fantasy fans straight up despise this game and would like to see it stricken from the franchise's history. Those fans are also wrong.


I'll grant you Vaan is somewhere between annoying and forgettable, and all the characters do oddly look too similar, but that's about where the criticisms end.


Gameplay-wise, FF12 is very solid and offered a satisfying experience capping the PS2 era as the consoles were about to change over. The map-based skill system was interesting to learn and play around with, while the completely redesigned combat was a fun change of pace, and unlocking all the monster entries offered a reason to keep playing previous areas.



Final Fantasy 7


Age hasn't been kind to the most famous game in all Final Fantasy history, but it still remains a strong contender for the top spots, even if there's a whole lot of nostalgia influencing that positioning. Props also have to be given where they are due for introducing RPGs to a much wider western audience.


On the positive sides, who could forget cross dressing for a mob boss, chocobo racing, snowboarding at Gold Saucer, the absurdly long Knights Of The Round summon, or the excellent materia system?


On the downsides, the graphics are straight up ugly at this point, and the story was often bizarre and sometimes incomprehensible (it took me more than one playthrough as a kid to figure out just what the heck Cloud actually was and what his relationship to Zack was supposed to be).



Final Fantasy 9


Capping off the golden era of PS1 releases, FF9 returned to actual fantasy territory after two games that strongly blended sci-fi and modern day elements into the mix.


Although there was lots of comic relief (particularly with the knight character Steiner), there's some gut-punching stuff in this story. Vivi's storyline is both thought-provoking and heart-wrenching, even when it's filled with adorable little guys in overly large hats.


Final Fantasy 9 is also notable for working summoned monsters into the actual main storyline, rather than just being these beings of massive power you casually pull out for any given random battle and then send away a few minutes later.



Final Fantasy Tactics


The only game to truly compete with Final Fantasy 6, this turn-based strategy take on traditional Final Fantasy lore is another one where the music and sound effects are major highlights. For a game featuring a more serious and dark tone than the rest of the entries in the series, the music really ramps up the tension and perfectly matches the art direction.


While the job-based class system and grid combat system are excellent, it's the story and characters that shine most brightly. It's a complex story but one that's still easily accessible, and it was a little daring for the time it was released in (when games were still considered “for kids”) with its openly anti-religious themes.


That bleak ending is perfect for the story being told as Ramza – who saved the world – gets branded a traitor and forgotten by history, while Delita – who is actually the villain – becomes king.



Best: Final Fantasy 6


RPGs not only cut their teeth but really hit their stride on the SNES, with the cream of the crop on that beloved system easily Chrono Trigger... and Final Fantasy 6. Originally released as Final Fantasy 3 in North America, there's a whole era of kids who first experienced this legendary game under that title before RPGs were even close to mainstream. We may have been the nerd crowd, but we had something awesome no one else had caught onto yet.


Fast forward from 1994, and Final Fantasy 6 still stacks up today as a game worth playing that frankly beats out a lot of modern titles in terms of characters, story, music, and yes, even art style. To be honest, I don't think Squaresoft/Square Enix has ever released anything better on any of those fronts to this day. The quality of the soundtrack can't be overstated, as this is some of the best music Nobuo Uematsu has ever crafted.


That opera house scene is one of the best in gaming that still makes people tear up today, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The multi-part battle while defending Narshe, switching between three groups of characters separated across the continent, stealing mechs in the imperial camp, the ghost train, and the world getting completely and utterly destroyed half way through the game are all classic moments in gaming.


Every playable character had an interesting backstory as well as a unique combat ability that made them all play differently, but let's not discount the bad guys. Has there ever been an antagonist like Kefka? Turns out the insane clown was way more evil than the evil emperor he worked for, and he succeeded where every other villain failed in a quest to destroy the world and rule the ashes.



Without question, Final Fantasy is easily the most famous and prolific console RPG series of all time, introducing several generations of gamers to the concept of turn-based side by side battles as heroes attempt to overthrow kingdoms and protect magic crystals.


The coming next-gen remake of Final Fantasy 7 was one of the biggest pieces of news to land from E3 this year, but it's not all we have to look forward to, with the anticipated part 15 arriving next year and slated to shake up the formula quite a bit.


Ranking these games from best to worst is a monumental task, especially considering the sheer number of titles released since the first Final Fantasy way back 1987. To keep things manageable, here I'm focusing on base single player games in the main series, with two spin-offs included solely because of their iconic nature. The mobile phone games, spin-offs, sequels, MMORPGs, and Legend / Adventure titles on the Game Boy are all being left off this time around.


Even by culling all those extra games and whittling it down to the 14 titles included here, ranking them is harder than you'd think, as most of the Final Fantasy games have been re-released in alternate versions, some with major graphical and gameplay changes. The first game alone has come out in no less than 11 separate releases from the NES to the PlayStation to mobile phones and most recently for the 3DS.


For consistency's sake, these are all being ranked based on their original versions and not on the later re-creations.

Strong Female Characters: Zero to Heroine (Princesses Edition) Sat, 27 Jun 2015 13:30:01 -0400 KungFro


Princess Plump

Fat Princess

SURPRISE! Princess Plump gets an honorable mention just because she loves her some cake and isn't afraid to rock that plus-sized figure. 




Is there anyone that we missed? Which princesses would you put on this list? Let us know in the comments!



Street Fighter series

People often forget that Street Fighter's Elena is the princess of an East African nation. A master of Capoeira, she doesn't fight simply because she's good at it, but because it's a part of her culture. She's well-equipped for the task too, being six feet tall with long, powerful legs.


Though she wears a two piece year-round, Elena's personality couldn't be farther from sexualized. She's a sweetheart and healthy competitor, always looking to make friends. She's also remarkably in tune with the forces of nature, able to hear voices in the wind and trees – Pocahontas shares her thunder. Elena also aspires to follow in her father's footsteps and study abroad.


Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca

Final Fantasy XII

Princess Ashe is unlike the other women on this list. Married at the age of seventeen and widowed shortly after, Ashe is no damsel in need of saving. Instead, she is a mature young woman whose dedication to the restoration of her family name is unshakeable.


My favorite thing about Ashe is that she's got her priorities straight. She's loved and lost, but she's not looking for a replacement. Her focus is regaining the Dalmascan throne, though she will not compromise her own or her late husband's morals in the process. Many fictional female characters are easily tempted by matters of the heart. Ashe, on the other hand, knows hers well.


Princess Kitana

Mortal Kombat series

Kitana's home realm of Edenia was the site of much corruption due to the influence of her false step-father Shao Kahn. Once aware of the truth, she fought valiantly for her homeland and to atone for her past sins. The simple fact that she took to the front lines is a testament to her strength.


Kitana is an extremely well-known femme fatale in the fighting game genre. She is never without her trademark steel fans, which are both beautiful and brutal, much in line with her character as a whole. It is worth noting that, although she looks to be in her twenties, she is over 10,000 years old. But age is just a number, right?


Princess Zelda

The Legend of Zelda series

Wise beyond her years and gifted in multiple schools of magic, Zelda has proven herself to be a worthy ruler of Hyrule. Unlike Peach, who is consistently kidnapped by the same person, almost every villain in the series has gone after Zelda, further emphasizing her being a threat rather than just an easy target.


When not sitting on her throne or in some cage somewhere, Zelda is a remarkable fighter. With rapiers, longbows, and fireballs at her disposal, she can dispatch most opponents with ease, as seen in both Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors. In fact, her Sheik persona is so beloved that Zelda's effectively holds two slots on both coveted rosters.


Princess Peach

Mario series

Peach is known as little more than a certified damsel in distress, but the very first time Bowser kidnapped her was legitimate. He'd transformed all of her subjects into inanimate objects and, seeing as she was the only person powerful enough to revert the spell, he took her. I'd argue that her subjects were already useless, inanimate or not, but that's not the point.


Besides her obvious and implied magical abilities, Peach is a skilled player of many sports and baker of cakes. As seen in her Super Smash Bros. appearances, she boasts a fighting style that is elegant, deadly, and very, very pink.


Did I mention that she's also one half of a malicious speed demon?


Many fictional princesses are commonly overlooked for their virtues, particularly because they're somehow so easily kidnapped. It definitely doesn't help that many remain reliant on men to save them.


Nonetheless, many princesses have grown comfortable with dirtying their hands, er... gloves? Though not always completely self-sufficient, here are five that can handle themselves when necessary.

Final Fantasy XII HD May Become a Reality at E3 Mon, 02 Jun 2014 06:43:43 -0400 Fathoms_4209

Earlier this year, Square Enix made it plain that while there are currently no plans for Final Fantasy XII HD, they'd consider it if Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD  performed well.

That HD compilation did do quite well, in fact; some would argue that, all things considered, it did better than Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Furthermore, Square Enix boss Yoshinori Kitase said on more than one occasion that if they were going to administer the HD overhaul to another old FF title, it'd be FFXII.

Now, I think I can add a little more fuel to the fire...

Yeah, these anonymous tipsters can be all sorts of unreliable, but...

Trust me, I know. I never like reporting on information from anonymous tipsters who wish to keep their identity a secret. It just feels cheap, you know? However, my source has been correct more than once in the past, and that includes the time he informed me of the fact that Final Fantasy Versus XIII had actually become Final Fantasy XV. He seems to be closely tied in to all things Square Enix, so I'm inclined to believe him.

He says Square does consider FFX/X-2 a success, and they are planning FFXII HD. Now, he can't be sure they'll announce it next week at E3 - after all, FFX/X-2 just came out in North America in March - but he's relatively certain it will be revealed within the next month or two. 

If it is, and FFXII HD is also a success, maybe they can take another step...

Okay, so I know applying a high-def gloss to PS2 titles is a lot different than completely remaking something like Final Fantasy VII. However, if these remakes continue to prove to Square Enix that in truth, the fans appear to actually prefer the older titles (mainly 'cuz the FF franchise has gone completely off the rails, according to many), who knows? Maybe they'll invest in a project die-hard FF fans have wanted for many years...

17 Awesome Video Game Moments and Memories Thu, 06 Mar 2014 20:20:36 -0500 MandieM

Uncharted 2 : Among Thieves Intro

My favorite thing about this opening scene is pretty much everything. This is an awesome combination of high-adrenaline cinematics and bad-assery. This is exactly why video games are so fun for me; I can do things I could only dream of doing in real life.

Megaton Nuke + Aftermath

Oh, Fallout 3. How I love thee. 


Don't try to claim you didn't blow Megaton up at least once. I know you'll be lying because even those of us who play pure good 100 percent of the time have done it at least once. Because explosions are fun, and let's face it; Fallout encourages us to blow things up. I'm not sure what's more fun here, the explosion or seeing your "friend" afterward.

Walking Dead: Clementine and the Salt Lick

This is really short, but it's my favorite scene from the game. It's subtle, but breaks up the endless death and dying quite nicely, giving a good chuckle. 

Harvest Moon Animal Parade: Wedding with Harvest Goddess

I am a well-known Harvest Moon addict. It's just nice to get a break with a game that's not all shoot-y, kill-y, and stabby once in a harvest moon, pun entirely intended.


Of all the scenes I've encountered throughout all of the Harvest Moon games, this one was easily the cutest. Kissing sprites? Adorable.

Katamari Forever - Rolling Up...Well, Everything

Katamari is generally one of the most underrated game franchises out there, at least in my not-so-humble opinion. What can be said that's bad about rolling up the entire universe?


Never mind that you roll up a black hole. Katamari's not about logic.

Vanilla WoW in a Minute by Wowcrendor (World of Warcraft Machinima)



Everything in Vanilla Wow. Need I say more? Oh Vanilla Wow, where for art thou?





Mega Man 2- Intro

For an older game, the Mega Man 2 intro was pretty inspiring. As you climb up the tower, it seems simplistic at first. But the intro gives a feeling of anticipation that the game carries throughout it.

God of War 2 - Kratos and Zeus

Battles don't get much more epic than this. Many gamers thoroughly enjoyed this battle. It stuck in the minds of gamers both for its storyline depth and beautiful graphics. The scene with Gaia is also pretty incredible.

Red Dead Redemption - First ride into Mexico

Although this took my breath away and continues to do so to this day, it's just another day at work for Rockstar Games. The expansiveness and intricacies found in this area are breathtaking.

Journey - Sand Surfing 

Journey is an incredible game anyway, particularly story and graphic-wise. This specific area was easily one of the most captivating.

Yoshi's Island Ending

Awww, and so our twins were reunited, and the Yoshi's lived happily ever after. Yoshi's Island was surprisingly popular, considering the serious lack of violence and plethora of cute it held. Almost makes me feel bad for dropping Yoshi down holes to save my own life.

Dragon vs Mammoth vs Giant vs Sabre Cat vs Me!

This situation from Skyrim isn't so much a moment as it is a regular occurrence. Every so often, you'd stumble upon a crazy, logic-bending fight. This particular video is a good way to showcase that ecological madness.

Final Fantasy XII - Summon Ultima

Few people can forget the first time they summoned Ultima. The sheer power drawn down from the heavens was staggering and quite breathtaking. 

Fable III - The Ultimate Decision 

This is easily the biggest "omg" moment when you first start playing Fable 3. It's equal parts heartbreaking and horrifying. To make matters worse, this decision on whether to kill peasants or your true love is timed. If you don't do anything, they both die.

The Last of Us - Giraffes!

This scene from The Last of Us made many people smile. In the words of Ellie, "So F***ing cool."

Portal 2 Turret Opera

Often a quoted favorite of Portal 2 fans, the end of the game treats you to a wonderful turret opera that's almost as engaging as the game itself. It's totally OK if you did a little ballet dance the first time watching it. It's even encouraged that you act like a conductor.

Super Mario Bros. Ending

Just about everyone felt that they had achieved something great when they finally beat the last stage of Super Mario Bros. Some of us were clearly brighter than others, and beat it in short measure. Others, (totally not me) may or may not have beaten the game for the first time eight years later when it was a relic. (So not me.)

Final Fantasy XII: He Who Must Not Be Gamed? Tue, 13 Aug 2013 22:54:35 -0400 Cupcakecrisis

This past weekend, I attended my first convention, Otakon. If you’re not familiar, it’s a place where people of all sorts of fandoms, be it anime, video games or comics, come together to fellowship. One of the most exciting aspects for me was cosplay, where many people dress up to the likeness of their favorite characters.

Undoubtedly there were Final Fantasy Cosplays

A wide spectrum of characters were there. Wow! There’s VII’s Tifa as a zombie! Oh, look! There’s Tidus! And in the thick of the expertly crafted garbs, out of the whole 3 days, I saw only one (beautiful) troop of cosplayers for Final Fantasy XII.


Here are a couple of them if anyone is wondering

And I realized, that game gets underhanded a lot, and it was a great in my opinion. Out of all the “modern” Final Fantasies for consoles I would have to say that 12 is the one that is never really spoken about. Even outside of Final Fantasy, 12 can stand alone as a beautiful example of gaming, but even outside of it’s rings, there is no country for it.

Can we talk about that battle system!? The one that was absolutely seamless andincorporated a bit of strategic charm with the gambit system. I remember loving that I could actually see my enemies and escape if I saw fit.

Can we talk about the music too? Rich instruments that immersed you in a feeling of adventure, fear and triumph.

Can we talk about the story?... Wait, maybe not.

Maybe that’s what it is. Even I must admit, though the gameplay mechanics were amazing and fun, it was a game so open that I played for over 123 hours without even touching the main storyline, when I finally got to advancing the story, I wasn’t really feeling it. A confusing and misplaced story with no true character capitalization, that’s where 12 fell flat. Although there were some colorful characters...I’m looking at you Fran and Balthier... and Ashe and Bashe.

Pretty much everyone except Vaan and Penelo.

Square - Enix made a sort of foolish decision when they decided to add Vaan and Penelo to appeal to a certain audience. And it’s not that they’re particularly bland characters either, it’s just that you can tell what they were made for; they’re the square peg in this story’s round hole.

I remember wondering why these characters were placed as main ones when the story MAINLY isn’t about them. They throw off the balance and flow overall, and honestly their addition made the whole batch feel washed out, leaving us with little character concentration and no real grounds to care about them, and especially for a Final Fantasy game, an engaging story is what it needs to be remembered years after the release.

I can look at a Tidus cosplay, and there are all of my memories of that character projected. I can do the same for a Cloud, and even a Serah. But not a Vaan, although I will enjoy his abs. And that’s because 12 never really gave me much of a memory to latch on to.

The 3 Most Useless Third Wheels In Gaming Thu, 25 Jul 2013 15:59:05 -0400 vegna871

Gaming nowadays has a lot of characters. While most games tend to stick to four or five major characters, sometimes they go for more than that.  With as many characters as there are in gaming today, there are some that have shown up that really just don't need to be there.  These characters are gaming's "third wheels," and what follows is my personal list of the top three third wheels in all of gaming.

3. Brendan/May

The Pokémon franchise has a ton of characters, just about all of whom exist mainly to let your adorable monsters beat up their adorable monsters for money and delicious XP.  However, not all of these characters are necessary.

The Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire games, you can choose between a male or female playable character.  So what happens to the their sprite? Well, rather than waste it, Game Freak makes that sprite into another character, one that happens to be the professor's child. Brendan appears if you chose to be a girl, and May appears if you chose to be a guy, and they get the opposing type Pokémon to the starter you chose. That means they're your rival, right? Nope, there's another character, Wally, that serves that role. What do they do then?

As far as I can tell, aside from telling you that they 'really just want to be a Pokémon researcher' a lot, they don't really do anything. They show up every once in a while to grant you some nice experience, but other than that they seem to just exist so that you get a chance to look at the other trainer sprite for the rest of the game.  Brendan and May take the #3 spot because they exist only so that Gamefreak doesn't waste a sprite.

2. Big the Cat

The Sonic the Hedgehog series of games has several characters that are pretty maligned.  The Sonic universe is ripe for the picking with characters that have little to no purpose, so choosing just one as the biggest third wheel of the Sonic series is hard.  After much deliberation, I have to give it to Big the Cat, who first debuted in Sonic Adventure.  

There are several reasons behind this. He's an unnecessary character with one of the most irritating voices in all of gaming (which is saying quite a lot).  There was no reason to add him to the game. Yes, his story is a bit important, but that's because of a secondary character, his pet Froggy. Big himself adds nothing to the story of the Sonic Universe.  

However, probably my biggest reason for adding him is that he's a playable character that isn't any fun to play. In Sonic Adventure, his gameplay boils down to a series of poorly programmed fishing mini games.  They're difficult, they're irksome, and all you really have to do is find his frog before the enemies in the level kill you.  The frog's location in each level is also random, and some fo the levels are massive.

Big makes a return as a playable character in Sonic Heroes as the Power Character for Team Rose, but you'll barely need him at all except on the final boss fight. You can pretty much get through Team Rose's entire story without ever using him except on very, very rare occasion.  Big is #2 because he's pointless and plays poorly.

1. Vaan

The guy Square Enix likes to tout as Final Fantasy XII's main character makes the top of my list. The reason I include him is because Final Fantasy XII has 6 party characters, and it seems a shame to waste a party slot on a character who has little or no story development at all during the game. 

Final Fantasy XII, however, has two party members that fit this bill: Vaan and Penelo. Penelo pretty much exists to follow Vaan around, but she has some development and is a bit of a dynamic character in the first 3 or 4 hours of the game. Vaan is completely static.

He has one ambition: he wants to be a sky pirate.  

That is his entire story, throughout the entire 60+ hour game.  To top it all off, Square Enix pretty much straight up calls him the main character, despite the fact that there are much better and much more dynamic characters surrounding him the entire game. Vaan takes the #1 spot because he is a main protagonist that has no effect on the story of his own game whatsoever.

What do you guys think?

Who are your biggest third wheels in gaming? Sound off in the comments, and stay tuned to Gameskinny and the Team Timelords Facebook page for gaming news and culture!

Pillage, plunder, and loot your way to success! Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:03:40 -0400 GabrielKross

I thought the pirate kick ended with Pirates of the Caribbean? It seems I was mistaken as there is a resurgence in pirate-themed games. 

Arrrrgh you ready?

Several games are now releasing pirate theme content. Such as Guild Wars 2 and TERA. There are also new games being released centered around piracy, such as the new Assassin's Creed. Even Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is in on the piracy, as Limsa Lominsa is filled with former pirates and cut throats. Where is this new found age of pirates coming from? Did I miss a memo or something?

Famous game pirates

I mean sure there have been pirates popping up in video games for years. Cervantes from Soul Calibur is a prime example. Final Fantasy XII had a pretty awesome pirate named Balthier. A more recent addition to the pirates in gaming, Monkey D Luffy, in the Japanese release of Dynasty Warriors: One Piece. Classic Dynasty Warriors game play in a One Piece world, I had to buy it.

New age of piracy?

Are we going into a new age of piracy? Or is this just a passing trend? Either way get your treasure while you can!

FFXII HD (Kind of) Confirmed! Mon, 17 Jun 2013 23:43:30 -0400 Kazemusha

Let's be honest, we're all a little a little bit (A LOT) excited for the FFX and FFX-2 HD Remaster later this year. You know who else is excited for it? Square Enix. More specifically Yoshinori Kitase, director of  titles such as Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X. 

In an interview with, Kitase was asked about the possibility of other Final Fantasy HD remasters. Although excited about the upcoming release of FFX and FFX-2 HD, Kitase's response was measured and shrewd: "If they [the games] do well, I think this will pave the way for more of the previous games to remade in an HD sort of quality."
A fair response, it's good to play it safe. But, the next question had to be asked: If Square Enix were to do any more HD remasters, what would they be? Kitase's reponse:

"I mean, if we HAD to single out one of the vast number of Final Fantasy titles which we could make in HD, it would have to be Final Fantasy XII," he said. "I was not involved in the project, though, so we can't really comment on that."

Of course the Internet's initial response is something along the lines of "OMG they're making an FFXII remake!" Well now, hold your horses partner. Kitase simply implied that FFXII WOULD be on the table IF Square Enix decides to do an HD re-mastering of another game.

So, Does This News Mean Anything?

Well, kind of.

Given the company's not so stellar financial record as of late, it comes as no surprise that Square is putting out a remaster of one of the more popular games in their flagship Final Fantasy Series. Undoubtedly, final Fantasy X and X2 HD will be received well. The question is, how well? Square Enix is not ready to start pumping out rehashes of their old titles just yet, first they want to make sure there's a profitable interest in the idea.

Oh, and for the record, I would love to see an HD re-master of Final Fantasy XII!